The job placement rate for construction electrician graduates from the Anoka Technical College was 100 percent last semester. So, the tech opened another section for new students this semester.
“Make sure it gets lined up on the mark, on the arrow,” said instructor Terry Lehmkuhl to a student working with a piece of conduit.
These second year students at Anoka Technical College are learning how to bend conduit. It’s one tool they'll use often, on the job in commercial construction.
“We’ve always had a very high placement rate,” said Lehmkuhl.
Terry Lehmkuhl first taught the Construction Electrician program at Anoka Tech back in 1986. At age 64, he came out of retirement to teach one semester.
“So I’ve really enjoyed coming back I kind of sort of missed all of the students and the activity and stuff,” said Lehmkuhl.
After students complete this course, they're required by the state to work six-thousand hours in the field for three years - also called an apprenticeship.
“And there is a distinct need out there for apprentices in the field simply because older electricians retiring and more people starting companies,” Lehmkuhl added.
According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the median wage for electricians was just above 29-dollars an hour, or 60-thousand dollars a year. Growth in the number of electricians in the state is expected to increase by over 10 and a half-percent through 2024.
“There’s a lot more to the industry than just installing outlets and lights,” said electrician Mike Nelson, a 1981 graduate of the Anoka Tech program.
Nelson has worked for City View Electric for the past three decades. He rose to the position of vice president and has been key in hiring a number of graduates from the Anoka Tech program.
“If I didn't I probably wouldn't keep going back there but it’s been a good relationship, I’m glad to have it and hope to continue it for years to come,” said Nelson.
One example is of worker retention is Marty Steiner, a 1996 Anoka Tech graduate and master electrician who works for City View.
Meanwhile, back in the classroom.
“What you need to know is just be here, be in the seat,” said Terry Lehmkuhl. “We will teach you everything that you need to be a construction electrician.”
Anoka Tech Instructor Terry Lehmkuhl says he'll likely teach this entire academic year, and maybe even next year.